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Rita Corts Bernat Gonzlez

Mnica Francitorra Blanca Hernndez



As we all know, there are different separation methods to separate

homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures. We have the distillation, the
decantation, the filtration, crystallization, centrifugation, magnetic separation,
screening method, and chromatography.
But as we have said, we will focus on the chromatography one.

- What is chromatography?

Definition: Chromatography is a versatile method of separating many different kinds

of chemical mixtures.Chroma (colours)- Graphe (writing).
There are a lot of chromatography types but we will only focus on the one in which
we have worked.
The two main categories of chromatography are the preparative and the analytical.
Analytical Realized in an environmental lab. Normally is used to small
sample sizes.The objective is to separate compounds in order to identify them.
Preparative Used in the pharmaceutical industry. Normally uses large
quantities of sample. The objective is to remove impurities from a commercial
So our chromatography experiment that we are going to show you is the analytical
one because our objective is to separate compounds in order to identify them.

What is our crime about?

A famous rich man has been murdered. A piece of paper was found in the scene of
crime that had the following sentence on it written using a blue ink pen.: He deserved it!
The police had found three suspects and by chance each one of them use a different pen
brand. Can you help the police to figure out who is most probably the guilty person? Using
the same technique, can you do other tests?
What has happened is that there has been found a paper written in blue ink that
says: He deserved it. The police has found three probable people who can be the ones
who wrote that sentence. So we have three different pens (of the three criminals) and one
paper written in an ink. What we know is that the ink of this paper has to be one of the three
criminal pens. But what we have to discover is what pen is the one that has written the


Our first objective, is to know who is most probably the guilty person. We want to
discover with which pen the sentence of the crime has been written. Our secondary objective
is to find other examples in which we could apply the chromatography method. We also have
to find with which technique we could solve the mystery. As we have said, the separation
method that we would use to solve the mystery is the chromatography.

Rita Corts Bernat Gonzlez
Mnica Francitorra Blanca Hernndez


8 beakers (two for each pen, because want to try the experiment with filter paper and
also with normal one )
Alcohol (its the solvent for which the components of our sample would have more or
less affinity)
Filter paper
Normal paper
A test tube
Three different pens
The paper that has been found
(A mobile phone, to do the photos)

Chromatography method applied in our experiment

This method we use it to separate different substances that have different affinities
for a solvent. The experiment is quite easy. We have to take a paper (if its possible a filter
paper) and put the sample of the substance on it. Then, we take a baker and we put a
definite quantity (that we will measure with a test tube) of a solvent for which our substance
has affinity. After we take the filter paper, and we put it in the beaker in such a way that it is
touching the solvent but the sample of our substance is not. We observe then that the
solvent, thanks to capillary, has the tendency to increase of height. At the moment in which
the solvent arrives to the place where our substance is, the different components of this one
(whether they have more affinity to the solvent or less), will increase of height at the same
time as the solvent.
This shows us that the components which have more affinity for the solvent will keep
going higher and higher with the solvent, and the ones that have less affinity for the solvent
would stop increasing of height earlier. If we can, we would cover the beaker with a cap in
order to be more accurate in the experiment.

Now we are going to explain this experiment applied in our crime. The process that
we are going to explain we will repeat it four times, because we have four inks to analyse.
Like we have already said, first of all, we must take a normal paper and a filter paper,
two beakers and one of the pens that we want to analyse. We take one of the papers and we
draw a big point on it. This point has to be more or less in the middle of this paper. We do
the same in the other type of paper. Now we have to measure the quantity of alcohol with
which we are going to work. It has to be always the same quantity, so we decided to do it
with 10 ml of alcohol. To measure these, we will take a test tube and we will pour a little bit of
alcohol until it arrives at the mark of 10 ml. We do this twice. Next, we pour the 10 ml of
alcohol in a beaker. Now that we have a beaker and two different papers for one ink, we will
put in a vertical position both papers, each one in one beaker. This is all we have to do, now
we must observe what happens.
Like we have said, this process we must repeat it four times. We will do it three times
for the three different inks and one for the ink of the crime paper. Once we have analysed all
of them, we have to compare them and find which one of the criminal inks is the same of the

Rita Corts Bernat Gonzlez
Mnica Francitorra Blanca Hernndez
paper one. To discover this, we must observe the different components in which each ink is


As we did the experiments, plenty of things had happened. We observed the

pigments of each ink and analyzed their components, seeing which ones had more or less
affinity for the alcohol.
When we started doing this experiment, we thought that maybe we could go a little
bit farther and try to do the experiment with two different types of paper. We realized that the
murderer, wouldnt be so silly to write in a filter paper so, in order to see the result of this
experiment, we decided to do it with filter paper, but also with normal one, to see if it could
work. Like this, we would be able to compare the two ways of doing it and know which one
was the best. We arrived to the conclusion that the filter paper worked so much better than
the normal one, because it could absorb the ink easilier than the other one.
We discovered that the brand Bic pen ink, was composed by lots of components
which were of different colours. This helped us to differentiate the different components of
the ink. We also observed that this components were like diluted when the alcohol arrived at
their height. This happens because the alcohol (which is a solvent) dissolves the
components of it.
Then, we analysed another pen, the one that had a lowest ink. This one, had more
difficulty in being analysed, because of the few components that it had, and the few kinds of
blues that we could perceive. This happened also with the other pen ink.
As we said, we compared all the inks to find which one was the one with the murder
had written the sentence.


As human beings that we are, we had some difficulties in doing this experiment. First
of all, we realized that we had to organise ourselves in a better way. This desorganisation,
made us to do some mistakes that we were not supposed to do.
What happened was that the first time that we did the experiment (it was supposed to
be the first and the last one) we put the ink on the papers in a chaotic way. Everyone put the
ink that he wanted and finally we ended in having three samples of a same ink and stuff like
Another mistake that we did, was that at the moment of putting the shows of each
paper, we did scrawls, and when the paper got in contact with the ink, it was chaotic, and we
werent able to analyse it, so we learned that we must put a little point.
We also had difficulties in choosing which pens we could use, because we needed
three pens of the same colour more or less and they could not be waterproof. Even though
this difficulties had created desorganisation, they served us to improve for the next time and
we have learned about our mistakes.

Rita Corts Bernat Gonzlez
Mnica Francitorra Blanca Hernndez
Other examples of chromatography

As Blanca told you before, chromatography is a physical method that we use

to separate the components of a mixture, and it works the following way: The mixture
is dissolved in a fluid called the mobile phase, which carries it through a structure
holding another material called the stationary phase. And why Im telling this to you?
Im giving you this information because, we started this presentation with a
description of chromatography, and now we will end it with another.

Chromatography has two principal blocks: The planar chromatography, which

is the one that we have been explaining you during this presentation, so put ink on a
paper and alcohol in a baker. But as we know, it can also be with sap (savia in
Catalan) and with other liquids. Theres also another type of planar chromatography,
in which instead of having a paper as a stationary phase, we have a vertical glass jar
with highly absorbent solid, and its called column chromatography.

And the other block its the gas chromatography, in which the mobile phase
its a gas. This type of chromatography its the most used, but its also the most
expensive. Its very complicate to understand, so we wont explain you how does it
works, but we wanted you to know that theres also another type of chromatography


Doing this experiment we have arrived to the conclusion that the person who did the
crime was the person who had this pen (ensenyem la foto del boli). Thanks to the analysis of
the inks, we have discovered the murderer, and without the chromatography method we
couldnt have discovered. We have learned how to apply this separation method, and now
we are proud of ourselves.We expect you to have enjoied and learned like we have.
Thanks for your attention, do you have some questions ?